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Senior doctors urge secondary school pupils to get vaccinated

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Senior doctors urge secondary school pupils to get vaccinated

Senior doctors have urged secondary school children to consider getting vaccinated against Covid after the death of a healthy 15-year-old girl highlighted that young people with no underlying conditions are potentially still at risk.

The rollout of Covid vaccines for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in England started on 20 September, but the process is more complicated than for some age groups because the shots are given through schools and parental consent is needed beforehand.

Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP in Oxford and a member of the Independent Sage committee, said while it made sense to deliver Covid vaccinations through schools, the programme was starting late compared with other countries and that many schools could struggle given recent cuts to school nursing and medical services.

She said the combination of “half-hearted endorsement” of the vaccine in the age group and “stretched services” risked further delaying vaccinations in teenagers. Sending children back to school without masks, extra ventilation, bubbles and isolation policies was “a total recipe for ensuring everybody gets exposed”, she added.

“I don’t understand why we are not getting on with it. It seems urgent. Urgent to protect these children, and to protect their families, and to protect their education,” she said. “We should have started this in the summer.”

Jorja Halliday, a 15-year-old from Portsmouth, died from Covid last week on the day she was due to have her Covid jab. She developed myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, days after contracting the virus. While some cases of heart inflammation have been recorded as an extremely rare side-effect of the vaccine, none have led to deaths in young people. The risk of myocarditis appears to be substantially higher from Covid than the vaccine.

The UK’s chief medical officers recommended a single shot of Pfizer vaccine for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds after considering the impact on schooling and mental health, after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded that the medical benefit to children was marginal. The NHS aims to have most children in the group vaccinated before October half-term.

Prof John Simpson, consultant paediatric cardiologist at the Evelina London Children’s hospital and president of the British Congenital Cardiac Association, said Jorja Halliday’s death was “a sad reminder” that while Covid is rarely serious in young people, it can still be fatal.

The first official figures on Covid vaccine uptake among healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in England are expected this week, the Guardian understands. Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said hundreds of schools in England are already vaccinating pupils.

Since the start of the autumn term, infection rates have soared in secondary schools in England, with about one in 20 children in years seven to 11 now expected to test positive for Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“Any death of a child is one too many,” said Russell Viner, professor in adolescent health at UCL, who has advised Sage. “The chances of teenagers without other medical conditions getting very sick or dying from Covid is extremely small. Side-effects from the vaccine are also very rare in this age group. However rare, events both from Covid and from vaccination can and will happen in large populations.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “We encourage children and families to seriously consider the offer of Covid-19 vaccination and, if they have questions, to consult with healthcare professionals who are experienced in providing information and supporting conversations.”

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Education

ASUU Strike Hindered Payment Of Bursaries To Education Students- F.G

The Federal Ministry of Education on Monday noted that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has hindered the payment of bursary to students of education in universities.

This was disclosed by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Andrew Adejo, during the 2022 World Teachers Day press briefing held in Abuja.

The Federal Government had, in 2021 disclosed President Muhammadu Buhari’s  promise to release bursaries to students studying education in universities and colleges of education

Speaking to the press, Adejo said, “The implementation of the payment of stipends has commenced.

“However, due to the strike, we have not been able to get the data of all the students in universities. We only have 7 per cent of the required data to be processed for payment.”

Adejo further said, “I must state here that the national implementation of the New National Teaching Policy has commenced. It is a holistic package that will ultimately address the career path, remuneration, professional teaching standards, qualification, deployment and management of teachers.

“The theme for the year 2022 WTD which is ‘the transformation of education begins with teachers’ strongly stresses the importance of empowering teachers for the effective transformation of education to ensure quality teaching and learning as well as galvanize technological advancements to meet the ever-changing needs for national growth and development.”

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Education

ASUU Saga: Reps Summon Ngige, DG Budget Office, AGF, SGF And Others

ASUU Saga: Reps Summon Ngige, DG Budget Office, AGF, SGF And Others

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has invited the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and several others to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday next week

Gbajabiamila, who said this on Thursday at the resumed fact-finding meeting on the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Universities (ASUU), also invited the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan; the Accountant General of the Federation; Director General, Salaries, Income, and Wages Commission; the Director General Budget Office among others.

As part of the push to resolve the lingering ASUU strike, Gbajabiamila, alongside his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase and other leaders of the House on Thursday met with the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS),  the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, among other government officials.

Thursday’s meeting was a sequel to an earlier one the Speaker held with ASUU officials on Tuesday where issues related to the strike were discussed.

The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting led the House leadership to invite the Head of Service, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission, and the Accountant General of the Federation, among others.

“At Thursday’s meeting, NITDA told the House leadership that the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) failed its integrity tests regarding the university payroll, which the agency conducted between March and JUNE this year,” the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, said in a statement.

“According to a NITDA official at the meeting, the government directed the agency to test UTAS in October 2020, adding that the platform failed the two integrity tests conducted on it.

“He said following the first test, ASUU was asked to go back and review, which it did. Yet, the platform did not meet NITDA’s requirements the second time.

“For the third time, NITDA was then asked to conduct tests on UTAS, IPPIS, and U3PS, which the official said all three platforms failed its requirements regarding the payroll system of universities.”

Lasisi added that “Not satisfied with the explanation, Speaker Gbajabiamila asked if NITDA advised the government to take action on the lapses found on IPPIS, which has been in operation by the government since 2011. But the NITDA official said they were not in a position to do that.

“Gbajabiamila also asked if NITDA queried the IPPIS platform, to which the official responded in the negative.

Deputy Speaker Wase also expressed reservations at NITDA’s action, saying it ought to have advised the government on the appropriate action to take in view of its discovery on IPPIS.

“But the Head of Service, in her explanation, said the ministry of communications and digital economy wrote her office following NITDA’s observations about IPPIS on the need to take a holistic look at the platform and that a committee was empaneled to carry out the assignment.

“She also noted that IPPIS is not just a payment platform but that it also has a human resource component, which all government agencies have been directed to activate, noting that all those directly under her purview have since complied.

“Also, the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr Nta, told the House leadership that in view of the general agitation in the tertiary education sector, the agency advised the government to look at the possibility of increasing the salaries of the staff in the entire sector, comprising universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

“He said, however, that at the end of the day, the government decided to increase the salaries of lecturers in the universities by a certain percentage, while professors were considered for higher percentage.

“He said he was not aware of any agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU for salary increment.

“Also speaking at the meeting, the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, said under no circumstance should employees dictate to their employers how they should be paid, faulting ASUU’s insistence on UTAS.

“After hours of deliberations, the Speaker suggested that a further follow-up meeting with ASUU officials be held on Thursday next week, which the stakeholders subscribed to. The meeting was, therefore, adjourned to Thursday next week.”

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Education

Bad Leadership Causing Poor State Of Universities- Ebonyi Varsity V.C

The Vice-Chancellor of David Umahi Federal University of Health Sciences, Uburu, Ebonyi State, Prof. Jesse Uneke, has attributed the failure of most government-owned universities in the country to poor leadership.

He stated this during a press briefing at the university’s conference hall, in Uburu, Thursday.

He said, “A lot of universities have issues and problems, and most times, people blame it on the Federal Government. That ought not to be. Most of the problems in the nation’s universities are caused by bad leadership. This is very critical.

“If you go to any university and you find that things are not moving well, check the leadership. If the government is giving you salaries, giving you capital projects and giving you recurrent; for goodness sake, all you just need is to have a good leadership and management, the university wouldn’t have problems.

“That’s the challenge we are having. But I don’t want to go into that. However, I want you to understand that the failure of some the universities we have in Nigeria is not because the government is not doing its best; it has been as a result of bad leadership”, he added.

 

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